Throughout history, stereotypes of Jews as money-hungry and corrupt have stoked anti-Jewish political movements—and often, with deadly consequences.
This sinister propaganda campaign, I regret to inform you, is being fervently pursued this week at the “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference in Oklahoma City.
The old stereotypes of the wealthy Jew are being dusted off and put in the service of the conference’s political agenda: to turn Christians in Middle America away from supporting the State of Israel.
At the opening session, which is being organized by staffers and members of the United Methodist Church, wealthy American Jews are being portrayed as enemies of the peace and nefarious manipulators of the American people.
And one Jew, in particular, is the favorite target of their unhinged conspiracy theories and antisemitic hatred: Sheldon Adelson, a man whose generous philanthropy in medical research and opioid addiction has assisted countless human beings.
His name came up more than once during a talk led by Alex Awad, a Palestinian Christian who is now a U.S. citizen. According to Awad, the United States has been unable to bring peace to the Middle East because, allegedly, wealthy Jews such as Adelson control American foreign policy.
Awad, a former missionary with the United Methodist Church, declared that the power and influence of the “Israeli lobby” is manifested in the Trump administration’s decision to allow “Israel and the Israeli lobby in the U.S. and pro-Israeli billionaires to run U.S. policy in the Middle East.”
He then asked the audience of approximately 100 Christians, “Are you aware of this or am I giving you something new? Are you aware of it?”
“Yeah,” one audience member declared.
“Give me a name,” Awad said in response.
“Sheldon Adelson,” one audience member declared. “Adelson,” another said.
One woman then spoke hopefully about a candidate for Congress in Kansas who allegedly “sent out an email that said Sheldon Adelstein (sic) and other millionaires and billionaires should not be allowed to influence U.S. elections.”
“That would be wonderful,” Awad said in response. “Here, here,” another audience member said.
Awad displayed a slide with the words, “Foul! A Recipe for Failure.” Next to this phrase was the photoshopped image of three White House officials surrounding a head shot of U.S. President Donald Trump: Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations; David Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel; and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
Awad then told his audience to look at the picture.
“Anything wrong?” he asked. “What’s wrong?”
One audience member said, “They’re all Jews!” And another said, “They’re all Jewish.”
Awad then drove the point home.
“They’re all Jewish,” he said. “Millionaires or billionaires.”
A few hours later, Darrell Cates, a Methodist staffer in Oklahoma who organized the conference, told attendees: “We’re not here to tell you who to blame.”
“That’s too easy,” he said.
The singling out of Jews and the assertions that they control the American government is an outrage—a dangerous outrage—and more people, frankly, need to condemn the fact that it is being said at this conference.
Dexter Van Zile is a researcher at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).